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Fred Stabbert III | Democrat

VILLA ROMA OWNER Marty Passante, left, and resort V-P Paul Carlucci stand in front of the structural skeleton of the new Villa Roma main building being erected at the Callicoon resort. Below, workers raise the flag.

Villa Making Progress

By Fred Stabbert III
CALLICOON — July 13, 2007 — “All in.”
If Villa Roma owner Marty Passante and VP Paul Carlucci were betting men, the chips would all be shoved into the center of the table.
That’s how much they believe in the Villa Roma. That’s how much they support Sullivan County and the Catskills.
One thing is a sure bet, when the multi-million dollar rebuilding and renovation project is finally complete, the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center will be one of the premier resort destinations in the Northeast.
“It feels like it’s been a long time coming,” said Carlucci, who has been helping to run the resort alongside Marty Passante for the past three decades. “It’s very exciting. And when it is complete, it is going to be really spectacular. We’ve gone all out to make this a showcase for Sullivan County.”
Rebuilding the Villa Roma has been a strenuous process since the resort’s main building burned down in April, 2006.
First Martin A. Passante, an architect from Long Island – and Marty’s son – designed the new Villa Roma. Bids were let and awarded and contractors hired.
Now steel is finally sprouting out of the ground and the hotel’s main building is beginning to take shape.
Passante said the Villa Roma will have invested $80 million in the entire Villa Roma complex, “from timeshares, to the golf course, hotels, buildings, ski hill” when the last round of work is finally complete.
Rightfully proud of where he has taken the 50-year old resort in his 39 years of owning it, Passante is still working hard to ensure the hotel’s future success.
And he would like nothing better than to offer his guests the opportunity to gamble.
“Give me slots,” Passante said. “They are coming on strong in Pennsylvania.”
Passante said it would certainly help if state lawmakers would OK slot machines in the hotels.
“The county should look for a way to get them here,” Passante said. “Yesterday, Monticello Raceway handed out $2.3 million to the county and the Town of Thompson got $1.2 million of that.
“Think of what could happen right here in the little Town of Delaware, right here in Callicoon,” Passante said.
Rose Urso of Searington, Long Island, who was enjoying a week-long stay at the Villa Roma’s timeshare units, agreed.
“Too bad we don’t have a full-fledged casino here,” she said from her poolside seat.
Building progressing
As workers from Liberty Iron Works erected the main frame of the new Villa Roma lobby, Carlucci and Passante looked on with approval.
“We hired as many local contractors as possible,” Passante said.
From Liberty Iron Works, to Wagner Masonry and Hughson Excavating, much of the work is being handled locally.
“We also hired Gene Barbanti’s firm in Liberty – Hy-R – to put the skin on our building,” Passante said.
And Sullivan Sprinkler of Fallsburg is doing the fire protection work while the Villa Roma is also looking at American Electric for its electrical needs.
Carlucci said the exact date for the Villa Roma’s grand re-opening is still a moving target.
“We’ve done projects before but we have never done anything of this magnitude,” he said. “Especially once we get inside, we have so much millwork and finish work.
“The attention to detail is really going to be first-class,” he said. “Our decorator, Interior Design Force of New York City, is really talented. They are really going to make it spectacular.”
Interestingly, the owner of Interior Design Force, Bob Goldberg, also owns Broadway Homes furniture store on Broadway, Monticello, yet another local connection.
Carlucci said the inside of the new building will have a ballroom, lobby, cocktail lounge, cafe and much of the same amenities as before.
“Some areas will be made smaller, some bigger,” he said.
And while Carlucci and Passante keep a close eye on the building’s progress, they know a lot of the timing is out of their control.
“We waited so long for the steel to come and it goes up in 10 days,” he said. “We are at the mercy of the timing of our deliveries.
“We’d love to have it open by New Year’s,” he said. “Right now I would say we have a 50-50 chance.”
More work
And while much of the attention is focused on the new main building, work is being completed all across the Villa Roma complex.
“We’ve just spent a quarter of a million dollars on pavers,” Passante said, referring to the large renovations going on around the Villa’s outdoor pool area.
And at The Club at Villa Roma, Krum and Son is putting down an entirely new parking lot.
Villa keeps humming
Despite not having its main building the Villa Roma is still busy, thanks to its timeshare units.
“We have 1,000 people staying here, and it’s like that every week,” Carlucci said.
“We are bringing the business back to Jeff and Callicoon, “ Passante said.
The Villa currently has 11,000 timeshare subscribers and 228 timeshare suites and employ 450 people.
The finished hotel will add another 150 rooms to that total.
Bellhop Bart Bubbico has only been with the Villa for only a month but he said, “I can’t wait until it’s done, it’s going to be really great.”
Bubbico owns an Italian bakery and cafe in Jeffersonville.
“If the Villa does a better business, so do we,” he said.

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